STEPANAKERT — The cherished dream of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Armenians has always been reunification with mother Armenia, Artsakh human rights defender Gegham Stepanyan said in a Facebook post.

His comment comes in retaliation to Artsakh newly appointed sate minister (equivalent of prime minister) Ruben Vardnayna’s claims that ‘Artsakh people would never become just a part of Armenia, one of its regions.’ In an interview with Russian RTVI Vardanyan said that ‘the Artsakh issue is a complex issue that requires quite serious work.”

“It was the cherished dream of reunification with the motherland that brought Artsakh Armenians to the square in 1988. Although first public demands for reunification were expressed in 1988, Artsakh intellectuals had voided that demand in letters addressed to the Soviet central authorities long before. Armenians have united in Artsakh, Armenia, Javakhk (the Armenian-populated region in Georgia), the Diaspora and everywhere else to fight for reunification of Artsakh with its mother Armenia,” Stepanyan stated.

According to him, during the 30-year struggle all sacrifices and hardships have been and are for the realization of this important goal.

“It is these simple realities that allow us to assert that the Artsakh movement is not separatism, it is not an end in itself, but a natural aspiration and the right of a part of the nation to join the Motherland from which they were artificially and unjustly separated,” the human rights defender stressed.

Billionaire and social entrepreneur Ruben Vardanyan renounced in early September his Russian citizenship and moved to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) to take up as state minister. In an interview with the Russian daily ‘Kommersant’ published in early November, Vardanyan said that Armenia’s government has no mandate to negotiate on behalf of Karabakh and single-handedly decide its future.

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